Last night, I wrote about how BDS was alive and well in NYC and on prominent display in a show that has been running on Broadway since the inauguration that makes fun of our 43rd president using, among other things, a picture of a male part of the anatomy being commented on by an “actor” who resembles a male part of the anatomy.
Pointless? Pretty much, but near the end of the show things turn tasteless as well. Ferrell/Bush asks the audience for a moment of silence to honor our troops who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the performance I saw, most of the audience members went silent but a few tittered nervously. Who can blame them? This is a comedy show. They were expecting a gag, and they soon got one.
After a few seconds of silence a phone on the stage rings, and everyone laughs. The relief is palpable. Hurrah! That thing about honoring our war dead? It really was just the setup to a joke!
Ferrell/Bush is startled by the noise too, because he’s already told us that the phone is just a prop that isn’t connected to anything. He picks up the phone, listens for a second and says, “I didn’t know ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ is playing! I love Tom Wopat too!” Then he tells the audience that he was afraid God was calling him on the phone. “Swear to God – I thought I was having a heart attack in my butt hole!”
The problem is, during what turned out to be merely a pause to set up the punchline, I actually was thinking about our war dead, and so were a lot of others. Left and right, we all believe, or supposedly do, in honoring the sacrifice of our servicemen and women.
Here, Hollywood is letting its mask slip. Ferrell and his director Adam McKay are so confident that everyone shares their contempt for Bush that they slosh over into contempt for all things associated with Bush: the show includes cracks about Texas, Christianity, and finally the military.
The military is the military. It isn’t going to whine. It isn’t going to organize a team of protesters to cause a ruckus in front of the Cort Theatre. It is just going to keep its head down and drive on. The military’s finest men and women will continue to be ignored at best and loathed at worst. No Medal of Honor winner will get even one percent of the publicity Ferrell will generate with this show. For every hundred books written about the failures in Iraq, there will be one paragraph written about the post-surge turnaround.
But is it too much to ask for our war dead to not be ridiculed by wealthy comedians? Maybe those who fly on private jets, live in closely policed communities with surveillance cameras covering every inch of their property and send their kids to private school don’t understand that there is such a thing as public security, and that it isn’t a joke.
Ferrell should remove the jokey “moment of silence” from the show, promise to leave it out of the upcoming HBO broadcast and apologize to the military. Better yet: Do it in person, on a USO tour of Iraq.
Can we question their patriotism yet?